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"Mayors do not have to be afraid" to participate in November 9's vote" because "they are legally covered"

Josep Maria Vila d'Abadal, the President of the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI), wanted to reassure the mayors that have offered municipal venues to host polling stations on Sunday, particularly in small towns and villages where the Catalan Government does not have facilities of its own. "Mayors do not have to be afraid of anything […] because their legal coverage is guaranteed" stated Vila d'Abadal, who is also the Mayor of Vic (a city in Central Catalonia). He also announced that the AMI – which co-organised the massive pro-independence demonstrations of 2012, 2013 and 2014 – and the Catalan Association of Municipalities will send a letter on Friday reassuring mayors. According to Vila d'Abadal "the future of Catalonia […] as a people" is at stake on November 9. According to him, after Sunday's vote, the most likely scenario is the one leading Catalans towards independence.

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07 November 2014 11:10 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Josep Maria Vila d'Abadal, the President of the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI), wanted to reassure the mayors of the 942 town halls of the 947 existing municipalities in Catalonia that have offered their support to November 9's participatory process. In addition, many of them have also offered municipal venues to host polling stations on Sunday, particularly in small towns and villages where the Catalan Government does not have facilities of its own, such as high-schools. "Mayors do not have to be afraid of anything […] because their legal coverage is guaranteed" stated Vila d'Abadal in an interview with the CNA. "They are not committing any offense, as the only thing they are doing is handing over municipal venues", added the AMI President who is also Mayor of Vic (a city in Central Catalonia). On Thursday, the Delegate of the Spanish Government in Catalonia, María de los Llanos de Luna, sent a letter to all the mayors reminding them about the Constitutional Court sentence and the obligation to obey it. To this end, he announced that the AMI – which co-organised the massive pro-independence demonstrations of 2012, 2013 and 2014 – and the Catalan Association of Municipalities (ACM) will send a letter on Friday reassuring mayors about their participation. According to Vila d'Abadal "the future of Catalonia […] as a people" is at stake on November 9, although he recognises that "there will be further opportunities in the future". According to him, after Sunday's vote, the most likely scenario is the one leading Catalans towards independence.


In the last few days before November 9's participatory process and after the letter sent by the Spanish Government's Delegate in Catalonia to all the mayors, Vila d'Abadal guaranteed that mayors do not have to be afraid of anything. "It is not the mayors acting, nor is it a municipal responsibility; mayors simply hand over a public venue [for a few hours] as they have handed them over to many organisations for many other things" on previous occasions, he stated. "It is impossible that such a thing is illegal", he affirmed. However, in order to reassure everybody, Vila d'Abadal announced that the AMI and the ACM are sending letters on Friday insisting that participating in November 9's vote and handing public spaces over is legal. He also recalled that on previous occasions both organisations have offered legal advice to town halls.

Regarding the organisation of November 9, Vila d'Abadal emphasised that all the parties and civil society organisations in favour of participating on Sunday are backing the Catalan Government in continuing to organise the participatory process. He also added that the Catalan Government "is doing things in the right way" and "it has already done everything needed" to guarantee that Catalans will be able to cast their ballots on November 9. The Mayor of Vic pointed out that those who are asking the Catalan Government to step back are "the People's Party (PP), Ciutadans (C's) and the anti-participation forces". Furthermore, he insisted that Friday's meeting of the National Alliance for Self-Determination is "a way to keep in touch before Sunday's vote and a way to make sure it will be a success and Catalans will be able to vote".

Plebiscitary and municipal elections

In addition, Vila d'Abadal argued that early elections to the Catalan Parliament should take place before the municipal elections, which are scheduled in May 2015. In addition, he supported the idea of the next Catalan Parliament elections being a plebiscite on independence. However, he also stressed that municipal elections could also be used for this plebiscite, although he prefers the other option. In addition, Vila d'Abadal noticed that, in any case, "there is a great necessity" to hold a specific and legal referendum on independence "sooner or later".

The President of the AMI emphasised that Catalans "do not want a confrontation with Spain", neither on Sunday nor in the future. On November 9 "we want to go ahead with a participation process", he stated. However, if the option backing independence wins, on November 10 "we will have to start walking the road towards a new State and to start negotiating with the Spanish Government if we do not want a unilateral declaration of independence". On that day, Catalonia's "immediate future is at stake", he stated, and that of "the future of Catalonia […] as a people".  However, he also recognised that "logically, there will be further opportunities", although November 9 is extremely important in the short-term.

Future scenarios

According to him there are 3 possible scenarios for the future, although Vila d'Abadal thinks independence is the most likely one. The other two are "a scenario that does not lead us towards [independence] because a majority of people did not want this option and preferred another option, such as a federation with Spain or staying as we are now, in the Autonomous Community System", he concluded.

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  • Josep Maria Vila d'Abadal being interviewed by the CNA (by L. Busquets)

  • Josep Maria Vila d'Abadal being interviewed by the CNA (by L. Busquets)

  • Josep Maria Vila d'Abadal being interviewed by the CNA (by L. Busquets)
  • Josep Maria Vila d'Abadal being interviewed by the CNA (by L. Busquets)
Josep Maria Vila d'Abadal talks about November 9's vote (by ACN)